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Juvenile and Youth Gangs - History

activity violence united reported

Gangs are not new, and in fact are found increasingly all over the world. Veteran researchers such as Walter Miller and Malcolm Klein suggest that the United States has experienced numerous cycles of gang activity. In response to rumors of violence against him from Baltimore gangs, President Abraham Lincoln disguised himself in his passage through that city on his way to his first inauguration. Fighting between adolescent gangs in Richmond, Virginia, troubled Jefferson Davis to the point that he tried to intervene personally. When cities experienced immigration and industrial development in the latter part of the nineteenth century, organized adolescent groups heavily involved in crime can be identified as gangs were reported to be active in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh as early as 1870. Disorganized aggregations of the children of immigrants from Ireland and Italy roamed the streets of their neighborhoods, largely as disorganized groups, engaged primarily in petty forms of property and crime and directing violence against one another and members of rival gangs.

As immigration patterns varied so did the composition of youth gangs. Levels of violence varied across the decades. In the 1920s, Frederic Thrasher of the University of Chicago became the best known early academic researcher of gangs. Thrasher emphasized the distinction between youth gangs and organized crime and the relationship between the changing ecology of urban areas and gang activity. William Foote Whyte portrayed the gangs of the Depression with young adult members who had few other alternatives outside the gangs of their youth. For the first time, the gangs of the 1960s were composed of significant numbers of racial and ethnic minorities. While levels of violence varied with criminal opportunities and the availability of weapons and eventually automobiles, it is important to recognize the social parallels of gang activity in the United States over the decades. Throughout U.S. history gang activity has tended to be concentrated in urban area heavily populated with families from the lower strata of the social and economic hierarchy.

Gangs are not confined to the United States. Gangs have been reported in many of the nations that emerged from the break-up of the former Soviet Union and Soviet bloc nations. Conflicts between gangs identifying themselves as "bloods" and "crips" have been reported in New Zealand. Klein has documented the growing number of European nations plagued by emerging youth gangs, including Germany, Holland, and France. The role of popular culture, particularly in the export of American cultural images through movies, music, and other forms of media, has had an important impact on this development.

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over 7 years ago

Juvenile and Youth Gangs - History

for gang history siting.

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about 7 years ago

Good material